My friend Patrick wrote this, proving once again he is probably the coolest guy I know. I really miss him. =D
It's my flag too.
"It occurs to me to be almost irked, because it's my flag too. So often the people who claim it do so in the name of religion and/or personal gain, or as a starting point for issuing veiled threats against opposing opinions and other nations that they have never actually seen. Flag-wavers are usually put on one end of the scale, with tree-huggers at the other end, but in truth anyone willing to express a different opinion than those around them are the most ardent supporters of the foundations of this country.
It's my flag too. It's my country, too. I'm sickened by these hordes of slackass hipsters who treat it as something to be despised, because they are of the impression that it represents things that they don't approve of. On second look that may be true, because that flag and this country are founded on people believing they can make a difference, and everyone knows hipsters don't act with that much integrity. The name hipster has become ironically reversed.
It's my flag too. It's my country too. And it's a tremendously successful country so far, but it's under attack from people who want to use the wealth of its success for their own benefit, who are so adept at verbal terrorism that the people who have the intelligence to reclaim it are terrified into hiding in their fancy houses and behind the windshields of the wheelchair that the automobile has become. And the only courageous people left haven't the strategic wherewithal to do much more than parade around and get themselves arrested in hopes that the disturbance will cause others to do something besides make a sound of sympathy at their morning paper over coffee. It doesn't seem to be working.
There's so much focus on critique as a sign of intelligence, no one will get behind any idea for fear of being duped. Fine, if you don't believe anything you see or hear that's fine, but surely you have your own ideas. Surely, if your vision is so clear as to discredit everything that has come before you, there must be some truly visionary concepts set to spring forth from the priceless jewel of your mind. (If nothing you see is worthwhile, it's your responsibility to create something.) Knowing the important names and the time-honored mottoes makes no difference. It doesn't matter what you think, it's what you do that defines you, and if you claim to have beliefs but you don't act on them then they aren't beliefs. If you don't believe in your beliefs enough to base your really real life on them, you can't expect anyone else to. That's not a belief, it's something else, a hope or an ideal or something. If you're living in fear of the consequences of your beliefs, you've already lost your life, so you may as well step up. All the types of people you dislike, be they bigots or rednecks or peaceniks or skinheads or faggots or American Idol hopefuls, they are living according to how they see it. If you don't have the courage to do the same, if you see something that you think is important and you don't have the courage to claim it, you don't have the right to cast aspersions on those who do.
Man up. If this world isn't a little better tonight than it was this morning, it's your fault. All the soldiers on both sides whose deaths are loudly lamented, this is part of what they're dying for, don't shame their memory. Speak your mind, even if your voice shakes. Make things better, even if it's just by sweeping the floor. You might surprise yourself.
Now if you'll excuse me, there are things that need tending to. Have a nice day."